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Bill O'Brien lauds Houston Texans' strong roster

On a day that saw the Houston Texans introduce new coach Bill O'Brien amid heavy fanfare, the best line came from team owner Bob McNair, who told the room: "I'm ready to kick 2013 the hell out the door."

McNair told reporters he expects an immediate turnaround, one reason he hired O'Brien away from Penn State, where he coached for just two years after a successful stint as a Bill Belichick assistant with the New England Patriots.

Like Belichick, O'Brien gave little away Friday:

  1. Asked whether he'd look for a quarterback with Houston's top pick in May's NFL draft or lean on a known veteran presence, O'Brien was decidedly vague, saying only that he wanted a "team guy," a "hard worker" and a player who's physically and mentally tough under center.
  1. O'Brien thanked Penn State and "everything they demonstrated on a daily basis." He said he never attempted to mislead the school or its fan base -- or those players -- but couldn't turn down the opportunity with Houston. "The players there mean a lot to me, and they always will," he said.
  1. Gary Kubiak's assistants remain on the payroll, and O'Brien said he plans to meet one-on-one with each of those coaches starting Saturday to evaluate the group. The pressing question is whether defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will stick around. O'Brien made no promises, but McNair said, "I think the world of Wade."
  1. McNair praised O'Brien as someone with experience in "making tough decisions." General manager Rick Smith said he latched onto O'Brien for his football intelligence and "ability to be innovative." Smith specifically mentioned halftime adjustments as a factor in the O'Brien hire.
  1. Our favorite moment here in the newsroom? Watching a phantom hand enter the shot and appear to pull a bug off O'Brien's sports coat. The look on his face was one of horror/deep irritation.
  1. "I do believe this is a strong roster of players," O'Brien said. On that note, this doesn't sound like an organization anticipating a slow-burn return to better days. O'Brien cited the defensive talent -- J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing by name -- and Cushing told the Houston Chronicle: "I'm excited to find out what scheme we're going to play. He's got talent to work with. This isn't a rebuilding project."
  1. Multiple reporters pinged O'Brien with versions of the same question: Will you fit in with us here in Texas? He patiently answered each one and made a clunky quip about buying Cowboys boots, but his best route to community acceptance is simple: Just win.
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